It was How's fifth goal of the season and Dell's second, while Basingstoke also had an unlikely hero in Steve Greening whose opportunist goal marked his first appearance since sustaining a pelvic injury on September 23.
This was a value-for-money display from the Rebels who remain top of the Premier Division on goal difference but with rivals Wokingham staying in touch with a 2-0 win over Grays.
The Rebels played with rediscovered passion as though they had something to prove against a side equally determined to demonstrate their potential after regaining their status in the senior division.
A clear superiority was established in the first half in which Steve Thompson was exquisite, combining with the Rebels other leading men Neal Stanley and Tommy Langley to keep Basingstoke under ponderous pressure.
The trio were denied the success which their build-ups deserved, most notably in the 28th when Langley was perfectly poised to put the finishing touch to a cross from Stanley which looked a goal from the moment it left his toes.
Only an inspired piece of keeping from John Simpkins kept the Rebels unrewarded. Mistakes occurred — four in all — which gave the Camrose boys the chance to show they were also dangerous going forward, and although Mark Hill showed a lack of match sharpness after injury, Gary Dodd stood out in an otherwise solid shield.
Mark Mallinson — a colleague of Thompson in the RAF earned his wings with distinction as a fast-breaking full back while Tony Knight was a model of controlled aggression in midfield. Both showed up well as the Rebels went in search of plunder, ending the half with a large posse chasing chances right up to the whistle.
The game died briefly after the restart as the Rebels lost their shape, but was then fanned back into life by an unexpected goal in the 59th minute. With a dificult wind in Basinstoke's favour, a long clearance from the goalmouth had the Rebels rearguard backpedalling to counter. Four players including keeper Gary Lester arrived to claim the ball but Greening stuck in a propitious boot and guided it into the empty net.
How provided the perfect reply three minutes later, heading powerfully home at the far post after Mallinson provided the opening, but with 'Stoke full back Barry Blankley sprawled in the box after his attempted clearance. Jamie Webb then forced the ball onto the Rebels crossbar from the restart and the impressive former Southampton striker Leroy Whale brought Lester to his knees after a fine run had split the defence.
Though Rebels manager Alan Davies swapped Langley for Barry Rake in the hunt for a winner, it finally came from a less obvious source.
From a goalmouth scramble Thompson looked to have struck the vital blow through a mass of bodies, but the shot rebounded to Dell on the edge of the box and he swerved it precisley into the top corner — a long pot worthy of snooker king Steve Davis.
'Stoke made a double substitution to no avail and saw Nigel Taylor fluff a late opportunity to get among the points. How's defiant gesture, aimed a silencing critics of a negative approach, set the tone for tomorrow's make or break clash with promotion-seeking Aylesbury, the last team to deal out defeat to the Rebels.
Basingstoke Town Line up
Simpkins, Blankley, Walkington, Wiltshire, Ingram, Webb, Taylor, Whale, Clarkson, Greening, Robinson. Subs: Lawrence (for Clarkson), Elward (for Walkington).